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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Alex Marsh on Phillip Blond on social science

Check out this excellent piece by  Alex Marsh on Phillip Blond's clown like pronouncement on the relationship between academic social science and public policy. There are lot's of things wrong in some sections of British social science - I don't need to labour my view here - but Blond has got it all upside down and back to front. It's frightening that someone like this has the ear of significant policy makers.

I think academic social scientists do need to be more aggressive about getting their own house in order and rooting out bullshit wherever it is to be found. They should also though be  focusing  their fire outside the tent, for instance on the  snake-oil market - sorry -  the think-tank industry. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there is no legitimate role for think-tanks or that all think-tanks are the same, that would be absurd. However,  academia has allowed itself to be sidelined and ceded significant ground to the "I'll do you one cheaper (evidence free of course)", "real men  have no time for  RCTs"  brigade.

Krugman has relevant things to say about similar tendencies in the US.

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